Horton leads Bruins to win

Boston Bruins' Nathan Horton and David Krejci chase a loose puck behind Philadelphia Flyers' Brian...

Boston Bruins' Nathan Horton and David Krejci chase a loose puck behind Philadelphia Flyers' Brian Boucher. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:10 PM ET

BOSTON - Even after the most dominating game they have played in this series, you knew what the question was going to be.

“We’ve already been through it,” shrugged Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas. “We have about half of our lineup that’s different from last year, you know? Umm, but...I guess that’s the main difference.”

Here they are again.

The Bruins are up 3-0 on the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinal after a 5-1 win Wednesday night - which saw them up 2-0 just 63 seconds into the game - and this is so similar to where they were last year, same time, same teams, same situation.

You know what happened. The Flyers won the next four and now the Bruins have been waiting for this for a year.

Same teams, but not the same Bruins team.

Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli turned over about half the roster from last year and the guys who are here now that weren’t here last year are the guys making a difference now. That’s Thomas’ point off the top.

David Krejci, the centre who was injured in Game 3 against the Flyers last year and lost for the playoffs, scored at the 63-second mark to make it 2-0 and added two assists, giving him four goals and four assists in the first three games of this series.

Forward Nathan Horton, acquired in a trade from the Florida Panthers and waiting 502 regular-season games to play in the post-season, added to a quickly growing resume with a playoff Gordie Howe hat trick Wednesday night.

Others, too, like winger Brad Marchand, setting up the first goal 30 seconds in by defenceman Zdeno Chara and running around all night.

“It was one of those games where I was angry the whole game,” said Marchand. “I was just trying to run around and kill guys.”

The Bruins didn’t have that kind of mentality last spring.

Two goals 63 seconds in were the fastest two goals scored against the Flyers in the playoffs.

“That was about as good a start as you could ask for,” said Thomas.

Fast starts aren’t unusual in Bruins games this spring: in seven of the Bruins’ 10 post-season games this spring, the first goal has been scored within the opening 3:31.

The pushed their lead to 4-0 in the second on goals by Daniel Paille and Horton two minutes apart and that was it for Flyers goaltender Brian Boucher, once again not totally to blame, cracking his stick over the crossbar and hurling it down the hallway as Sergei Bobrovsky made his way to the net.

The Flyers were hoping to get a boost with the return of top goal scorer Jeff Carter, but the forward, out since Game 4 of the first round with a knee injury, wasn’t a factor. Of course, that described most of the Flyers as they were dominated from the drop of the puck by the Bruins, who also threw several thundering hits over the course of the night.

It was the return of Simon Gagne last spring that sparked the Flyers to their historic comeback over the Bruins. Gagne scored the overtime winner in Game 4 and had four goals in the remaining four games of the series, including the series winner in Game 7.

The Flyers were also without top defenceman Chris Pronger, out for the second-straight game with a lower body injury.

Of course, the turnaround in last spring’s series between these two teams was also keyed by the loss of Krejci, who had been the Bruins’ best player to that point.

Similarities to last year, but as many differences.

“We learned last year the fourth win is the hardest,” said Thomas. “Hopefully we hit the reset buttons in our minds and the games before don’t mean anything. Last year was a long time ago.”

But never far removed in the minds of many here in Boston.


Photos